Saturday, 27 December 2008

Epic designs...

Just had to get these filled up with stuff and haul myself up the nearest hill to try them out. It's an Epic Designs frame bag and fuel tank - for fig rolls not petrol silly. They were actually ordered to fit my Karate Monkey but they happily fit the 1x1 (x8) just fine too. Once I'd adjusted my swinging baggy pants with the velcro straps there was absolutely no rubbage when pedalling. Got all my usual ride stuff in plus a JetBoil, insulated cup, spare gas (why?) and some soup - yum.
Loads of room to spare. I could tell because of all the rattling on the way back down the hill. None of it inteferes with any of the handling - it's all low slung and incredibly stable. Fantastically bivy-tastic.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Oh my.

Proof, if proof were needed, that we can still build some great wheels even when we have to wear a
blindfold. I'm just glad they're going on someone else's bike.

No offence, like, Jono.


Tuesday, 25 November 2008


Hella cold this morning and i say that from inside the van :o(
All hail the hardy cyclecommuter - i am not worthy.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Terminology Folly

I like this, terminology folly.
Sometimes the buying of a bicycle just takes too long. Is it because we all demand too much choice? Even when what's put down in front of you will do the job just right we still look for something to choose it over. FFS choose a bike you like the look of, take it for a short spin if you must, hand over the cash and away you go. Bye bye.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Tour de Scottish Borders

Hey Y'all, Just got back from a fab trip up north to the Borders. Goes like this...

Get up early Saturday morning and hop on the stoopid o'clock train to Carlisle.
Bikes loaded up and ready to go on the platform

Rolled gently out of town on quiet roads. We'd planned a route towards Keilder using the Reivers Route. Later on that day we got to the forest and started our offroad adventure.

Following the Cross Border trail we ended up that evening at Keilder campsite. Trails were mostly fire road with a bit of soggy singletrack thrown in for good measure. Well signposted they crisscrossed the English/Scottish border. We resisted the temptation to rent a Pod when we got there and put the tent up before hitting the pub for some well earned nosh.

Next morning we woke to find everything covered in a foggy mist. Undeterred we packed up and headed out. We felt a little sorry for the triathlon competitors that morning as they'd have to navigate Keilder Water in the fog. After a swoopy diversion and more following of that same Cross Border trail we crossed a main road hitting the service station for coffee and cake before more confusion in the woods. After an initial bit of confusion we got onto the right bridleway. This route finding elation was short lived as half an hour later we got to a bushy dead end where a bridleway should have been.

After a while longer than it should have been we emerged the other side of this particular clutch of trees only to find a huge area of vegetation where a track should've been. This was to be a frequent event on this trip - look at the map and there's a bridleway - look on the ground and the forestry commision has obliterated it. On the upside there was a small building nestling in this trail wilderness and on further investigation it turned out to be a bothy - y'know, one of those little places restored and maintained to give shelter to those who enjoy a bit of the little wilderness left on these isles.

Next morning, early start - we headed up onto the Cheviots with the intention of a traverse - the mud, slop and motorised trail erosion had better ideas. After a brief stop for lunch at the mountain shelter near the Salters track we beat a hasty retreat from the rain and appalling trail conditions and hit the road to Craster. The campsite and Alnwick eluded us so we pressed on to the coast and the beginning of the Coast and Castles part of our tour.

That's it for now folks, more to come...

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Sunshine and a rainbow.

What a great wakeup call. A couple of days in the Trough of Bowland, a bit wet underfoot and midgy as hell but fun nevertheless.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Two wheels, four legs and a very long night...

Have you ever uttered a throw away comment on the way to the bmx track only to have it come back and bite you on the bum?

This is the wholefood cafe in the middle of Machynlleth. It happens to be a great place to stop off on a long tandem journey, it does very good coffee and cakes.

This was actually the return leg of last weekends little adventure - which was decidedly warmer and a little damper than our outward journey. We left Sunny Manchester after work on Friday and rode thru the night and into the dawn. It seemed like a great idea at the time though at 3am on Saturday morning it was very cold and the Welsh valleys were more than a little misty - we had our doubts. After 170 miles and 18 hours into a headwind we arrived in Penparc near Cardigan in South West Wales, had a well earned bath and collapsed into bed. That evening we fell into the only curry house in Cardigan and stuffed ourselves silly.

After a little family time on the Sunday we got an early night in full expectation of a long day ahead. It was an early start, at around 5am we were gulping cups of tea and heading out into the dawn. This time of year it always surprises me how late the dawn is and how early the sunset arrives - it's all downhill till next Spring. Anyway, it was nice to get the bigger hills out of the way early on and we made much better time heading North. The wind was behind us and we were fresh from a good nights sleep - unlike Friday when we'd both been working all day after getting up early to watch the Olympic bmx. Ooops.

The relatively flat Cheshire plains were a welcome relief as we covered the last 50 miles or so back via Chester and into South Manchester. After 13 hours pedaling we hit the Saajan take away for a couple of well earned veggie kebabs, yummy. Not a bad weekend for a pair of tandem newbies (well, one of us had pedaled around the park before!).

So, next time you have a silly idea what about following it through? It might be hard work but it'll probably be damn good fun!

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Blimey, look everyone that old blokes riding round the track! And hell it's hard work too :o) That's my winter training sorted then - bit of bmx riding, running and i might even throw in some riding on a real sized bike. All that standing up and pedaling really seems to work my legs and i'm totally out of breath after each and every lap - maybe it's because the damn thing weighs nearly 30lbs...

See you down at the track, Platt Fields Manchester.

Monday, 7 July 2008

Marsden Moor

Sunday - got ready to go riding, looked out the front door and the rain was horizontally lashing it down. Time for another cup of tea and a slice of cake, yum. Once that shower had stopped, me and my Monkey rolled out the front door. Trundled up the techy climb to the masts, surprisingly rideable. Headed up the long gravelly climb away from the local resevoirs and over towards Castleshaw. Sat for a bit contemplating the blueness of the sky and the fabness of bikes when my peace was shattered by a couple of fat geezers on motocross bikes. They struggled with the gate for a bit, dropped bikes and generally got a bit frustrated. Karma for being where they shouldn'ta been say I. Then on and over to Marsden. Stopping here and there on the moor to take pics and pick new lines where the 'crossers have destroyed old ones. It's a great moorland traverse that one, though take your eye off it for a second and it'll have you. You'll either be up to your axles in a bog or riding in totally the wrong ditch! Rode thru Marsden town and out the other side - said hello to the long horn cattle. Headed back towards Castlshaw resevoir and got totally soaked in a thunderstorm. By this time i'd kinda had enough anyways so made for home. First time i'd climbed out of Castleshaw and once the initial techy stuff is done it's just a slog up the cobbles to the boots. I think it would've been a tad more challenging on a singlespeed tho - next time...

Monday, 2 June 2008

Road ridin'

Well, that's the Polka Dot Gran Fondo over for another year. I remembered it as long climbs followed by scorching descents through some of the best roads in the Peak District and surrounding areas, in blazing sunshine. That was a couple of years ago though. This year it started to rain just after we set out and just about continued for most of the day and my riding partner got a flat. This shouldn't be happening on the first of June? Anyway most looked like they were smiling through the rain and enjoying it - even if some triathletes got their fig rolls a touch damp.

So, even though we only completed the short 72 mile course we've easily clocked up well over 200 miles on the bike this week, hurrah. Just a couple more weeks of increasing time in the saddle and then it's a quick taper for Mountain Mayhem Then we'll probably be obsessing about Hit the North instead. Just off to check out some tyres....

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Some pics from the trip up thru the middle of Wales. We started in the Black Mountains, moved into the Brecons, over to the Cambrians and stopped short of the Rhinogs at Barmouth. Disappointed that all the chips shops close so early there and that my right knee isn't tougher...
Well that was the first hill of many out of the way. Stop for a brew outside Abergavenny before the descent into Coal Pit to find that it is actually a pit and no little shop like we were hoping for :o(

This was a great camp spot for the second night. On a ridge off Lord Herefords Knob. Punctuated by the sound of a lone moto crosser in the distance til it got dark and they fell into a hole or went home or something. First night at the campsite in Abergavenny we were treated to a massive electrical storm, no such interestingness tonight, just a fab view.

That'll be the Brecons just before the pull up onto Pen y Fan. No one around but the squaddies and loads of blazing sunshine.

Me with Ma and Pa - the support group in Llandovery. A rest day here was most welcome - loads of good food and a little beer. The cafe in the centre of town provides loads of tasty food, "home" cooked on the premises. There's the remains of a castle too with a big shiny statue outside.

More to come, probably...

Monday, 26 May 2008

Cambrian Way

While walking most of the Cambrian way we found some great looking singletrack bridleway that went on for what seemed like ages... Looking into a bike 2 dayer that would link up a couple of train stations one weekend. Would be great to bivvy out somewhere outside Machynlleth one evening and head straight out the next morning followed by 2 days of full on riding in the wilds.

Must go riding...